What is Amazon's Future in Mobile?
When it comes to online merchants, Amazon is easily the largest and most well-known store out there; selling everything from books to high-end consumer electronics. In the last few years however, we have seen Amazon adapt from being your run of the mill online storefront to becoming a “Jack of all trades” per se. The company has successfully ventured into computing and server/storage field, is the manufacturer of the popular Kindle eBook reader, sells music and video download services, and has more recently started online entertainment streaming service. Because of the success that Amazon has seen in every venture the company has made – all while playing it safe – has even gone as far as convincing me that the company is indeed ready to make gambles and to extend their grasp onto other consumer-driven industries.
Recently I have been reading quite a bit of substantiated speculation that Amazon will soon be marching into the mobile industry – a field that has grown over recent years and shows great potential of growing in the near future. However, unlike a number of other entities that are working to release the next killer smartphone or tablet computer, Amazon appears to be focusing on the distribution of mobile applications for the Android operating system.
Much like Apple’s iOS App Store and the Android Marketplace allow for users to browse, purchase, and download mobile applications for their respective smartphones, the rumored Amazon software store would allow for mobile developers to distribute their applications to the millions upon millions of Android users out there.
At face value, I honestly have to question why Amazon would see it necessary to implement their own “app store” of sorts when the Android Marketplace already exists to fill that exact need for consumers. With this in mind, one honestly has to question what would make both developers and consumers opt to use Amazon’s rumored app store as opposed to the more “native” option built into the Android OS itself.
However, if Amazon were to be successful with this new strategy, they would likely do so by luring in developers by offering higher developer royalties and commissions. I believe that this would give Amazon an edge simply by allowing them to sell mobile software cheaper than the Android Marketplace. Much like Amazon.com’s current strategy, this would likely bring in a significant amount of prospective customers who would opt to consider Amazon simply because of their competitive pricing. If this were the case, I can easily see where Amazon could work by accepting lower profits for higher sales volumes; essentially giving the Android Marketplace a run for its money.
When all is said and done though, while I doubt that Amazon would be successful with an app store in itself I believe that Amazon’s actions show that they too will be getting knee-deep in other aspects of the mobile industry. The sheer fact that Amazon is – according to rumors and speculation – working with the Android OS immediately sets off alarms in my head.
With the Amazon Kindle having been a massive success for Amazon, it’s not all that far-fetched of an idea that Amazon might somehow incorporate Android into the Kindle in the near future in order to make it more appealing to a target audience larger than literature enthusiasts. If you think about it, we’re already seeing Amazon involved with over-the-air music and eBook sales on the Android OS. Amazon even engaged in a recent television marketing campaign where they specifically targeted smartphone users as prospective Kindle eBook customers (Android commercial, iPhone commercial). Wouldn’t it make sense for the company to migrate to an existing (and open) platform so that they could expand upon the Kindle without having to (entirely) re-create the wheel?
What do you think? Will this pan out for Amazon? Do you think the company has bigger plans? Let us know in the comments!
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